Julian and I had a conversation yesterday about the post I had just written about developmental stages and how they affect dancers. (He was adamant that I should be writing about him, by the way…) I told him about the girls and boys I most watched at the convention and how I thought their dancing differed from his. And he made a comment that totally validated what I had been thinking…and writing about.
I said that the girls danced with a lot of confidence. There was no hesitation in their movements, and their whole body seemed full of energy and attitude. His upper body, however, didn’t have that same look or feel. And he said, “Those girls have an attitude that is like, ‘I know who I am.’ Or ‘This is who I am.’”
Julian admits that he doesn’t yet have that attitude. In fact, the place that his dancing is weakest is where he carries his lack of confidence: in his arms, his shoulders, and his chest. Not surprisingly, this is the part of the body where many people tend to curve in, slouch, hunch, or in some way fold to protect themselves. It’s also the part of the body that we can “make small” so we won’t be seen, noticed or judged.
So, while a boy like Julian might want to be seen, noticed and acknowledge in the world of dance, his insecurities in other places — like in school (where he has never been totally accepted, has been called “gay,” has been seen as “different,” hasn’t fit in, hasn’t had girls like him, etc.) — have created a pattern in his body of hiding and protecting himself. It seems to me that until he can feel secure about himself — like his female counterparts at TDC, he won’t really shine on the dance floor in the way he would like.
I might note that his lower body is much stronger…
I thought it was interesting that he could see this as well. I have to admit that he didn’t really like hearing it right after the convention. My niece pointed out that he would have heard my words better the day after the convention, so I advise other moms not to be as quick as I was to jump in there to try and offer an opinion. He was much more willing to admit to it and talk about it a few days later.
Again, he is planning to go into the studio alone and find some confidence…find himself. I hope he does.